Day camp is the answer for campers not ready for overnight experiences and parents who want their children to be able to return home at night.
Besides the obvious reasons to attend a day camp, Gina Cuffari, owner of Snapology of Cleveland in Beachwood; Siva Grossman, director of Broad Horizons Day Camp at Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights; and Jill Korsok, director of Orange Community Education & Recreation in Orange, said day camps can help children develop.
“It provides for the camper fun, playful opportunities to explore their world,” Grossman said. “Camps provide children the opportunity to be more self-sufficient, self-aware and confident. Children who attend day camps have the opportunity to make new friends and develop social skills.”
She added they’re also able to engage in a “wide variety of eclectic activities” they typically aren’t exposed to, expanding their interests in a safe, supportive place.
Korsok said day camps also provide children a place to challenge themselves and to express their independence, sometimes for the first time.
“They provide children a space to make new friends and learn more about themselves and the world in an open environment,” she noted. “It is not school, and it’s not with their parents. So, they can push boundaries that they are interested in challenging themselves about.”
With so many camp options out there, Cuffari explained parents should seriously consider day programs.
“As a parent myself, I explored day camps because the camp experience offers valuable enrichment with an opportunity to interact with children with like-minded interests,” she stated. “Day camps should offer parents peace of mind knowing their children are engaging in activities they love while learning something new and fun.”
Specifically, at Snapology, which offers LEGO-themed activities, Cuffari said children are given the chance to problem-solve.
“Our camps also teach and encourage presentation skills by allowing campers to share their cool creations with others,” she noted. “In addition to building and learning through play, the emphasis on exploration and the engineering design process is an experience one might not expect that can be applied to many other areas in life.”
Explaining that Snapology is unique in the way the programs are based around play, campers are exposed to concepts like coding, engineering and robotics.
“When children are having fun, they don’t realize they are learning,” she added.
At Orange Recreation, Korsok stated families have many day camp options to explore – from sports to theatre and art to karate.
“Everyone is kid-focused and I think that is one of the things that make us unique,” she explained. “We have a pretty strong mission that we work off of, valuing relationships and teaching kids to have an open mind.”
Korsok added day camps allow children to explore who they are as a person and then directly apply that to their day-to-day life.
“Socially, day camps are so positive,” she said. “Kids have a chance to meet new friends in a relaxed environment. At camp, you can learn to be someone’s friend without the background of school and academics. Kids have the chance to define themselves in the summer and then take it back to school.”
An all-girls camp, Grossman said Broad Horizons offers a wide variety of communities and varied experiences, which “enriches the camp experience for all.” This allows all types of children to benefit from the camp experience, she said.
“Campers can try new things without judgment of failure,” she noted. “Campers are learning in an environment where the activities are presented as playful enrichment. Learning is fun and children learn that play is an important aspect of life.”